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Development, evaluation, and application of spatio-temporal wading bird foraging models to guide everglades restoration

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Date Issued:
2014
Summary:
In south Florida, the Greater Everglades ecosystem supports sixteen species of wading birds. Wading birds serve as important indicator species because they are highly mobile, demonstrate flexible habitat selection, and respond quickly to changes in habitat quality. Models that establish habitat relationships from distribution patterns of wading birds can be used to predict changes in habitat quality that may result from restoration and climate change. I developed spatio-temporal species distribution models for the Great Egret, White Ibis, and Wood Stork over a decadal gradient of environmental conditions to identify factors that link habitat availability to habitat use (i.e., habitat selection), habitat use to species abundance, and species abundance (over multiple scales) to nesting effort and success. Hydrological variables (depth, recession rate, days since drydown, reversal, and hydroperiod) over multiple temporal scales and with existing links to wading bird responses were used as proxies for landscape processes that influence prey availability (i.e., resources). In temporal foraging conditions (TFC) models, species demonstrated conditional preferences for resources based on resource levels at differing temporal scales. Wading bird abundance was highest when prey production from optimal periods of wetland inundation was concentrated in shallow depths. Similar responses were observed in spatial foraging conditions (SFC) models predicting spatial occurrence over time, accounting for spatial autocorrelation. The TFC index represents conditions within suitable depths that change daily and reflects patch quality, whereas the SFC index spatially represents suitability of all cells and reflects daily landscape patch abundance. I linked these indices to responses at the nest initiation and nest provisioning breeding phases from 1993-2013. The timing of increases and overall magnitude of resource pulses predicted by the TFC in March and April were strongly linked to breeding responses by all species. Great Egret nesting effort and success were higher with increases in conspecific attraction (i.e., clustering). Wood Stork nesting effort was closely related to timing of concurrently high levels of patch quality (regional scale) and abundance (400-m scale), indicating the importance of a multi-scaled approach. The models helped identify positive and negative changes to multi-annual resource pulses from hydrological restoration and climate change scenarios, respectively.
Title: Development, evaluation, and application of spatio-temporal wading bird foraging models to guide everglades restoration.
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Name(s): Beerens, James M., author
Noonburg, Erik G., Thesis advisor
Florida Atlantic University, Degree grantor
Charles E. Schmidt College of Science
Department of Biological Sciences
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Date Created: 2014
Date Issued: 2014
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Place of Publication: Boca Raton, Fla.
Physical Form: application/pdf
Extent: 147 p.
Language(s): English
Summary: In south Florida, the Greater Everglades ecosystem supports sixteen species of wading birds. Wading birds serve as important indicator species because they are highly mobile, demonstrate flexible habitat selection, and respond quickly to changes in habitat quality. Models that establish habitat relationships from distribution patterns of wading birds can be used to predict changes in habitat quality that may result from restoration and climate change. I developed spatio-temporal species distribution models for the Great Egret, White Ibis, and Wood Stork over a decadal gradient of environmental conditions to identify factors that link habitat availability to habitat use (i.e., habitat selection), habitat use to species abundance, and species abundance (over multiple scales) to nesting effort and success. Hydrological variables (depth, recession rate, days since drydown, reversal, and hydroperiod) over multiple temporal scales and with existing links to wading bird responses were used as proxies for landscape processes that influence prey availability (i.e., resources). In temporal foraging conditions (TFC) models, species demonstrated conditional preferences for resources based on resource levels at differing temporal scales. Wading bird abundance was highest when prey production from optimal periods of wetland inundation was concentrated in shallow depths. Similar responses were observed in spatial foraging conditions (SFC) models predicting spatial occurrence over time, accounting for spatial autocorrelation. The TFC index represents conditions within suitable depths that change daily and reflects patch quality, whereas the SFC index spatially represents suitability of all cells and reflects daily landscape patch abundance. I linked these indices to responses at the nest initiation and nest provisioning breeding phases from 1993-2013. The timing of increases and overall magnitude of resource pulses predicted by the TFC in March and April were strongly linked to breeding responses by all species. Great Egret nesting effort and success were higher with increases in conspecific attraction (i.e., clustering). Wood Stork nesting effort was closely related to timing of concurrently high levels of patch quality (regional scale) and abundance (400-m scale), indicating the importance of a multi-scaled approach. The models helped identify positive and negative changes to multi-annual resource pulses from hydrological restoration and climate change scenarios, respectively.
Identifier: FA00004078 (IID)
Degree granted: Dissertation (Ph.D.)--Florida Atlantic University, 2014.
Collection: FAU Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection
Note(s): Includes bibliography.
Subject(s): Everglades National Park (Fla.) -- Environmental conditions
Restoration ecology -- Florida -- Everglades National Park
Water birds -- Florida -- Geographical distribution
Water birds -- Habitat -- Florida -- Everglades National Park
Wetland restoration -- Florida -- Everglades National Park
Held by: Florida Atlantic University Libraries
Sublocation: Digital Library
Links: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00004078
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00004078
Use and Reproduction: Copyright © is held by the author, with permission granted to Florida Atlantic University to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
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Host Institution: FAU
Is Part of Series: Florida Atlantic University Digital Library Collections.